It's long been rumoured, and now a reliable source has confirmed that Shimano will bring out a 10-speed cassette mountain bike groupset next year.
At this stage details are scant, and Shimano have yet to make an official announcement on the subject, but it is understood that both dual and triple chainring options will be available, giving a choice of 20 or 30 gears.
The 2011 groupset is likely to be revealed to the press early next year ahead of an official launch at the Eurobike show in Germany in September. We'll bring you more news as and when we get it.
Shimano declined to comment on speculation that XTR would be going 10-speed, saying no details about future products would be released until February.
Road riders have been using 10-speed cassettes for years but it was only with the introduction of SRAM XX this year that a version became widely available to mountain bikers.
Use of a 10-speed cassette means there's a smaller jump between the sprockets, and racers can ditch one of their chainrings to save weight and get a better chain line yet still retain an adequate number of gears. The downside is there's less mud clearance and durability is potentially reduced.
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